In the days before the internet took off, it used to be enough for hotels of all sizes to simply take bookings over the phone and through travel agents and not maintain an online presence at all. Then, after the turn of the new millennium, it became clear that the worldwide web was going to become a very important force in the world of e-commerce and that those who kept their 20th century strategies were probably going to be left behind by their more forward-thinking competitors.Lagging behind in hotel design.
However, it’s surprising how many hotels still keep their websites based on the early designs they set up, meaning they retain them as pretty much a static advert and not much else. It’s impossible for would-be guests to book through them, they don’t blog and their property photos never change to reflect decor makeovers.This could mean that hotel owners all over the world are losing out on easy revenue in the form of daydreaming travellers who stumble upon websites as they research their ideal destinations and resorts. Most people now see the internet as their first port of call when looking for and booking travel, so having a presence and making sure it is as high-functioning as possible is essential in today’s modern industry environment.This is the case whether your hotel is a tiny, family-run business or a huge, big-name brand – and it’s even essential to have your own website if you’re part of a larger chain in a franchise arrangement; don’t rely on the ‘family name’ to generate your business.
Remember: the best way to drive revenue and boost your profits is to capture as many sales as you can online through your hotel booking engine. Don’t forget your website or neglect it in favour of other marketing channels – show it off to the best of your ability.Here are some of the best benefits a good website can offer you.
1. Dazzling visuals Humans are visual creatures and a portfolio of beautiful pictures displaying your stunning hotel and its spectacular setting should go a long way in persuading would-be guests to take the plunge and get their credit cards out. Without a website, you lose out on that instant, emotional response – and if your website hasn’t been updated since 2007, it’s likely to appear dated and could suggest to visitors that your property is the same.
2. An extension of your brand name It can be difficult to get your hotel’s name ‘out there’, but you’re sure to be making every effort do do this as a marketer. And if you’ve been sending out your logo in adverts, on social media and everywhere else you can think of, it’s a total waste not to extend this reach to the worldwide web.This is particularly applicable if you’ve got a hotel that stands out a little from the norm, perhaps because it’s a quirky boutique that would appeal to hipsters, for example. Not only can you broadcast your logo, but you can also tailor everything about your site to the property’s personality.
3. The ability to capitalise on your location really is key for hotels, particularly if you have a great one that’s situated right in the heart of London or New York, for instance. If you haven’t got a website, it’s hard for people to tell whereabouts you are. However, if you’ve maintained a great web-based shop window, they can see you will be an excellent base for their holiday.Don’t just put your address and a map down and then call it done, though – add local photos in a gallery, write articles about nearby restaurants and provide guides to local attractions to really add value to visitors. It could make them more likely to make a booking.
4. Easy marketing A static, abandoned website will do nothing for your marketing efforts – in fact, it’s probably worse than having no online presence at all. However, a regularly updated site full of interesting, informative content can work wonders in getting your hotel higher in the Google rankings.Do some research into search engine optimisation (we’ve got lots of articles in our archives if you need them) and populate your site with natural, long-tail keywords, links to your social media accounts, backlinks to related sources and more. This should drive traffic straight to you – and hopefully to your booking engine.
5. Good links to social media You have probably already established a presence on social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter (and if not, then you need to look into this), but it’s easy to get lost among the millions of posts that get published every day.However, if you keep your website running in tandem with your social media marketing, then it’s easier to push them forward and keep them at the forefront of travellers’ minds. If you employ SEO tactics on your website and drive plenty of traffic in, you can keep would-be guests interacting with you by placing clickable buttons that take them directly to your social media accounts prominently on each page.
This is a self-perpetuating circle that should help to boost your online presence significantly and might hopefully drive plenty of extra revenue.As you can see, having a website that allows people to look at what you are offering and make a booking directly is vital these days. But do remember to stay on top of it by ensuring no links are broken and that images are regularly updated.This should prevent your website from turning into that useless static ad and make it an essential tool in your marketing arsenal.